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Overcoming Back Pain from Spondy

Alright, I wasn’t sure where exactly to post this but hopefully I can get some advice here. This is not a debilitating problem I have but it is something that I believe holds me back in my training.

First, some brief info. I have spondy at L5/S1 in which my vertebrae is slipped about 50%. This causes me to be in a large amount of anterior tilt in the hips. I also have a herniated disc in L4/L5 but I don’t believe it has anything to do with my problem.

So here’s my problem. Anytime I do certain exercises such as any variation of the deadlift, front squatting, one legged squats, and sometimes leg press and lunges I end up getting a super tight and fatigued lower back. So much in that I have to terminate sets way before I need to. I had the snatch grip deadlift in my routine once and I liked it but my back just couldn’t handle it.

Now I know my back isn’t weak. In fact I have a decent amount of lower back hypertrophy because it appears to be overworked.

I’ve tried foam rolling, stretching my hip flexors, glute activation (although probably not as dedicated as I needed to be on it) as well as really concentrating on keeping a neutral back. The pain just seems to be there no matter what. In fact my lower back still feels pretty tender from only the 4 sets of deadlifts I did on Saturday.

Anyone else in the same boat that might have some tips? I have been working through the pain as best as possible but I don’t want to do any long-term damage.

I would appreciate any advice.

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I have spondylolisthesis in the same spot, but I’m guessing that’s one of the more likely places for it.

Stretch your quads, lots. It seems counter-intuitive, because the hamstrings and low back are where things get tight. Lengthening your quads will allow your pelvis to rotate back into a more normal position- not that it’s ever going to be ‘normal’ when you have spondylolistheis. But you can get closer to normal, which should help with the pain and tightness in your back.

Good luck with it.

I have the exact- and I mean exact same injury except my disc between l5/s1 is in proper position. I have worked on correcting my posture, I constantly have some exaggerated lordosis in my lumbar spine and some anterior pelvic tilt- being fat doesn’t help this. I can’t squat at all pretty much- I can but it just isn’t worth it. I can dead lift and do the power versions of the olympic lifts.

If you’re overweight it would probably help if you lost weight. Planks of all types and partial curl ups may help if your abdominals aren’t up to par. I wish I had an answer, but I’ve been dealing with this for about 6 years. I’ve been thinking about giving inversion a try. Do you get spasms? My erector spinae, illiocostalis, and quadratus lumborum- basically my entire lower back spasm especially in the morning.

Bushido, I have spondylolytic spondylolisthesis.

I will try the quad stretching. I’m actually pretty flexible in the hammies. I practice martial arts and have good flexibility from it. I don’t though stretch out my quads so I will try to see if that works.

Latenight, I’m not overweight and in fact am trying to put on weight right now. I have gravity boots and was doing inversion for awhile with no avail really. It feels good temporarily and may be good for disc health in the long run from the compression they get from lifting but no real relief when I’m actually lifting.

I don’t get spams though, just a dull achy tightness after doing any of the earlier mentioned exercises. Very sore and very sensitive to touch/foam rolling.

I also have quite a bit of left hip pain but my doctor diagnosed it as piriformis syndrome although I’m a little skeptical. Ironically, it usually feels better after squats and deadlifts though and only hurts when I lift a straight leg or shift my hips while sitting. Gotta love being 28 stuck in what feels like an 80 year old body! I can’t complain too much. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life right now.

Thanks for the advice and if anyone else has anything else to try, I’m all ears. I will post back here if I find out anything that helps.

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ok dude i had the same thing. mine was L3. i broke it twice because i never gave it the proper rest. people who say to work through it are real dumb. belive me it dosent work like that.

i was a football player and now a serious lifter. i had physical therapy for over a year, now thats combining breaking it twice. the first time was just a freak thing. the second time was 6 months last from being hit in the back during football.

now what i learned is i dident have the core strength i needed. you must work on your core. and if u do have “good core strength” then ur form sucks. i had to relearn my form for squat and couldent run for abot 8 months. work on hip flexibility and core strength and most of all lay off killing your back. it has taken me over a year to finally feel better. this is something that will never go away. but having core strength helps take the weight off your back and onto your core. this will prevent back pain and allow u to heal.

hate to tell u this, but u need to just recover. it sucks and takes a long ass time. but its worth it in the end. i had to give up football. but now that im ok, i can lift like an animal!

BBB, my grade (last it was checked several years ago) was a grade 2. It looks to be slipped by about 50%. I do foam roll and use a softball for piriformis work that really hasn’t helped out too much. I feel like it would be beneficial to have someone work on me that knows what they’re doing but finding someone that knows what they’re doing doesn’t seem to be that easy.

Bob-o. Appreciate the advice. I do believe though I have good form. I am very conscious of what my body is doing and I always keep as much of a neutral spine as possible with my scapula retracted and back tight. I do the Buddha Belly (as Dan John says) when I squat and deadlift. I don’t know though now that I think about it how tight my abs are when I do that. I can stick my belly out pretty far but I can do so relaxed or tight. Maybe I need to think about keeping it tight as well.

The pain does not appear to be joint pain or nerve impingement but my lower back erectors just feeling extremely tight and overworked to keep my back in the position its in. It’s like I have the feeling of wanting to relax them.

As for core strengthening that you think might help, any suggestions?

I appreciate all your comments. I’d like to blast through this problem so I can keep improving.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
So you have a spondylolytic spondylolisthesis or is it a non-spondy, spondy?

In other words, do you have intact pars articularum?

BBB[/quote]

I can relate to this thread. I have “Lumbosacral Spondylosis without myelopathy (L5/S1)” as well as disc degeneration in s2/s3, and some other crap.

The reason I remember the diagnosis was because when the chiro said it, I made her repeat it 3 times, then wrote a song about it :wink:

Sucks gettin’ old :slight_smile:

So are you in pain SteelyD or have you found anything that has helped you get over the effects of the spondy?

I don’t know that I would say that I’m “in pain”, but I’m slow getting out of bed in the morning :wink:

I think of it more like a tight feeling in my lower back. Ever get a callous on your toe or a bump on your face? It’s kinda like that where it doesn’t hurt, but it reminds you that it’s there often.

I also go to the chiro every 3-4 weeks, sometimes more if I get a spasm or feel I need it.

The worst for me is sitting for long periods of time, which sucks, because I develop software so I’m sitting all day.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
So you have a spondylolytic spondylolisthesis or is it a non-spondy, spondy?

In other words, do you have intact pars articularum?

BBB

I can relate to this thread. I have “Lumbosacral Spondylosis without myelopathy (L5/S1)” as well as disc degeneration in s2/s3, and some other crap.

The reason I remember the diagnosis was because when the chiro said it, I made her repeat it 3 times, then wrote a song about it :wink:

Sucks gettin’ old :slight_smile:

This has nothing to do with getting old. The joints are wearing out because they weren’t maintained properly. If you showed up at your dentist at age 20 I am sure they would find your teeth in bad shape too. If it was an age thing, they all should show spndylosis.

Point is…get cheked early and often to so degeneration doesn’t start.
Dr C

[/quote]

My doctor said it was probably congenital so if I would have gotten checked out when I was a baby it would have showed up. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t do things to progress it. For instance I did gymnastics and martial arts that included bridge stretching that more than likely pushed my already dysfunctional vertebrae into a worse position.

Steely, I’m right with ya on the sitting part. I have to get up and move all the time. Sitting is the worst. Other than some specific leg movements, my back generally feels better when lifting.

Appreciate the advice and also knowing there are others that experience the same thing. Will work on the problem and if I figure out anything that works particularly well I will post back here.